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A Mississippi County soybean and cotton farmer was fatally shot Thursday evening after a dispute over the spraying of a herbicide on his fields northwest of Leachville, authorities said.

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Photo by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Map showing the location of Mississippi County

Allan Curtis Jones, 26, of Arbyrd, Mo., was arrested and faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Mike Wallace of Monette, said Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook. Jones was released from the Mississippi County jail in Luxora on a $150,000 bond Friday afternoon. He will be arraigned Monday in Mississippi County Circuit Court, Cook said.

Deputies were called to West Mississippi County Road 38 north of Leachville about 5 p.m. Thursday, where they found Wallace lying on the road. Cook said Wallace had been shot several times. Cook did not provide Wallace's age.

Police said Jones and Wallace had a dispute over the spraying of chemicals on Wallace's fields by a neighbor that ruined some of Wallace's crops.

Wallace was one of several Arkansas farmers who filed complaints with the state Department of Agriculture's Plant Board this summer alleging that their crops were damaged when neighboring farmers illegally sprayed dicamba, a herbicide that drifts easily and is toxic to soybeans.

Wallace filed complaints with the Plant Board on May 24, June 15 and July 11, claiming damage to three fields -- one north of Leachville where he was killed Thursday, and two other fields closer to his home. Wallace did not name a suspect in two of the three complaints. The farmer named in the third complaint had no connection with Thursday's fatal shooting.

Jones worked for Lonnie Gibson Jr. of Arbyrd, a town of about 500 just north of the Arkansas state line. In May 2015, a Plant Board investigator served a notice of inspection on Jones confirming that dicamba was being sprayed and the applicator was not licensed, as required by state law. Gibson was fined a total of $1,400 for that offense.

Two months later, a Leachville farmer complained that his soybeans were damaged by dicamba drift after Gibson's workers illegally sprayed the herbicide.

Gibson was fined $2,000 and issued a warning.

Jones told authorities that Wallace called him to talk about the spraying Thursday. Jones said he brought his cousin with him as a witness because he "felt like Wallace wanted to fight," Cook said.

According to a police report, Jones told police that when he met with Wallace, Wallace grabbed him by the arm. Jones said he pulled a handgun from his pocket and "shot Wallace until the gun was empty." Jones' cousin, whom Cook did not name, said Jones was backing away from Wallace and had gone behind a vehicle when the shots were fired.

The cousin told police he took a shirt from the vehicle and applied pressure to Wallace's wounds.

Wallace did not have a weapon, Cook said.

The shooting stunned those who knew Wallace.

In Monette, a farming community of 1,981 in eastern Craighead County, talk Friday at the Farmers Feed and Supply on West Drew Avenue was about Wallace, employee Ed Sanders said.

"He came in all the time," Sanders said of Wallace. "I never had a problem with him. We all went to church with him. We're all still in shock."

Tom Barber, a weed scientist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, lamented Wallace's death and its circumstances.

"It's sitting heavily on all of us," he said. "It's just a sad state of affairs.

"Prices are lower, herbicide costs are higher and weeds are tougher," Barber said. "When you are negatively affected by your neighbor, that really stings. That's just piling on, really."

A similar dispute in western Kentucky on Oct. 1 resulted in a fatal shooting. Mark Williams, 49, of Hickman, Ky., died from three gunshot wounds to the chest. William Jamison, 59, of Tiptonville, Tenn., was charged with first-degree murder.

Jamison's attorney, Dennis Null Sr., of Mayfield, Ky., said dicamba spraying was "indirectly" involved in the dispute.

Pat DeFries, a secretary at the First Baptist Church in Monette, said church members are also stunned by Wallace's death. Wallace and his wife supported the church, she said.

"He was a fine man," DeFries said. "Any time the church was raising money for children, he was more than generous."

She said she knew Wallace had problems with his farming neighbors spraying dicamba.

""I still haven't gotten my head wrapped around this. It's very sad."

State Desk on 10/29/2016

Print Headline: Police say farmer shot in field-spray dispute

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  • Nodmcm
    October 29, 2016 at 8:24 a.m.

    Let's hope a lot of money changes hands as a result of this most inappropriate use of firearms. If a man is about to be attacked with fists, it is murder to pull out a pistol and use deadly force to meet non-deadly force. I guess these guys don't get firearms training anymore, what with the 'constitutional carry' interpretation of the law against carrying a weapon. The shooter and his employer should lose everything, everything except the shirts on their backs, to the family of the victim. When you are dealing with people with money and property, the best way to punish them is to leave them with neither!

  • MaxCady
    October 29, 2016 at 10:53 a.m.

    Chock up another death to Monsanto.

  • Delta2
    October 29, 2016 at 4:14 p.m.

    Nod, there you go again, with reactionary posting. We don't know the circumstances of the incident, yet you are passing judgment. It is horrible that Mr. Wallace was killed, but don't link this event to everything you've read about lately. For example, if I am being physically assaulted by a NFL offensive lineman, maybe I am justified in the use of a firearm. Who knows. Just don't jump to conclusions unless you know the facts. I thought you learned that yesterday.

    As for punishing the employer...yes, to some extent. Taking everything he has? Come on, this is why you get ridiculed here on a daily basis. Remember your argument about physicians making ungodly amounts of money?

  • Dontsufferfools
    October 29, 2016 at 4:43 p.m.

    He's going to end up in the pen. This used to happen more often in rural areas, usually about water rights or drainage disputes, which is why there are now laws to govern such disputes. In the Midwest, a private property owner can't put in a culvert without first getting it approved by a county panel, which will determine if the new structure changes the way water runs onto adjacent property. Delta, I'm pretty sure if an NFL lineman grabbed your arm, you's swoon.

  • BEARTRAP919
    October 29, 2016 at 9:25 p.m.

    Well do we all still agree that Guns do not kill People, Or have we changed our Minds yet??

  • Delta2
    October 29, 2016 at 9:32 p.m.

    Dontsuffer, damn right I'd swoon, and that's exactly the point. It's not exactly an even fight between 5'10" 190lb me and a 6'4" 300lb guy assaulting me, as I could be killed in the absence of a gun between either of us. I doubt that I could pose the same threat to the lineman in the same absence of firearms, though.

    So what is your point?

  • JerryC2011
    October 29, 2016 at 9:45 p.m.

    I used to work for a farm supply coop. Many (or most) farmers lay everything they own on the line every year they make a crop. I think I can understand partially the level of stress involved that created this unfortunate event. Prayers needed for all.

  • mrcharles
    October 31, 2016 at 9:49 a.m.

    Well the culture that wont put up with disrespect , even to the point of killing another must be considered into the wider scope of things. IN the middle east of old they had same thing happening and that is where the blood feuds started that would last till the sun turns into a red giant.

    Perhaps now this has been gotten out of their system , things will calm down , after all it is not like black on black crime.

    And those pronouncements to be issued that I believe interfere with free will, I would be remiss to submit for your consideration that these wishing and hoping thoughts unspoken or spoken like Dusty Springfield told us about , if effective would be more effective before the damage is done.

    omega3, yoiu hit the nail on the tail, anyone who is in fear of his life, whether they are or not, or whether they instigated the dispute, should be able to shoot and kill the other, as what better excuse can you use [ since only conservatives can read minds] to justify the use of weapons. After all you could use pitchforks as recommend by a rump supporter, which would be a painful death too.

    Dont suffer conservatives, the situation of laws that interfere with people just working out their own problems with out government interference with "regulations" will be corrected once Trumps republican friend commiely's operation confuse public takes hold. Stop signs , meat inspections, employees at food places washing hands, and the ban on quackery medical treatment will end and the market will correct things.

    a few shootings is the price you pay for understanding that no law can work if you dont obey it, so hey hey sea bass perhaps grabbing can become an Olympic sport once that regulation is done away to interfere with the will of the people who support pence's boss.

  • NoCrossNoCrown
    November 5, 2016 at 12:15 a.m.

    Just more damn white on white thuggery....
    ........Git them out of my country

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